CDC’s New Circumcision Policy Flouts Medical Fact and Is Illegal

National Coalition for Men and Attorneys for the Rights of the Child

2961 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 Fax/Phone 510-595-5550

arc@post.harvard.edu
www.ncfm.org

www.arclaw.org

For Immediate Release: 10/20/2009

CDC’s New Circumcision Policy Flouts Medical Fact and Is Illegal

Berkeley, CA –A new policy regarding circumcision issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on October 20, 2009 is fatally inconsistent with medical evidence and moreover, violates US and international law. The new CDC policy suggests that circumcision should be performed routinely in the United States as a precaution against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). However, national medical organizations around the world, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Medical Association (AMA) agree that there is insufficient justification for performing the procedure on newborns absent specific medical indications. Studies that purport to support circumcising to stop HIV and AIDS are fatally flawed, and recent evidence suggests that circumcision may increase the danger to women and does nothing to protect gay men.

Legal and ethical experts around the world, such as Dr. Margaret Somerville of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who is often described as Canada’s premier medical ethicist, agree that the procedure violates US and international law, human rights, and medical ethics. Regarding the new CDC policy, National Coalition for Men (NCFM) Public Relations Director J. Steven Svoboda commented, “Recent discoveries suggest that a vaccination against HIV is close to becoming a reality, highlighting the absurdity of amputating healthy, functional genital tissue serving important protective, immunological, and erogenous functions. We don’t do it to girls despite studies suggesting female genital cutting may help stop HIV, so why should we do it to boys? They can opt for the surgery when they become adults; before then, it won’t be necessary anyway.”

Svoboda added that laws violated by male circumcision include assault, reckless endangerment, and such human rights documents as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which are incorporated into US domestic law, the former through ratification and the latter through international customary law. Svoboda is also Executive Director of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, which works to protect children’s human rights, including boys’ and girls’ right to bodily integrity and freedom from genital cutting. NCFM is the world’s oldest and largest membership organization devoted to ensuring true gender equality by combating sex discrimination against men and boys and is therefore greatly concerned by the recent CDC policy.

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